A brace from Armand Gnanduillet helped move Leyton Orient back into the play off places yesterday. The January arrival from Chesterfield brought a dull game to life 4 minutes before the break with a stunning volley from 25 yards to open the scoring. Crawley offered little in attack with Mark Yates apologising to the away support for the performance. Orient pushed for a second and grabbed it with 19 minutes to go when Gnanduillet volleyed home at the back post from a Sean Clohessy cross.
After a third away win on the bounce last weekend, player manager Kevin Nolan was forced into one change with Jobi McAnuff missing out due to injury. Sean Clohessy came in to right midfield.
Crawley who drew at home to Plymouth last weekend were enforced into one change of their own with Jon Ashton coming in for the injured Tom Dallison.
Much like last weekend at Notts County, the game lacked tempo and quality in the opening period. The pattern of play was set with Orient having large periods of possession with the away side content trying to absorb the pressure. The home side were pushing for the opener with little joy with chances at a premium.
Nolan’s men won a succession of corners but Nicky Hunt could only send an effort over after a good routine. It was clear that Orient had been doing some work on different routines from corners in training. It was another routine which saw top scorer Jay Simpson force Crawley keeper Paul Jones into a save at his near post. Sammy Moore played the ball to Simpson who had come short, he was allowed time to turn and shoot at the near post.
Crawley lacked ambition throughout the first half with their game plan seemed to be a long ball to Gwion Edwards and looking to pick up the scraps. Orient had failed to score a first half goal under Kevin Nolan and it was the player manager himself next to go close but his header was easily saved by Jones.
With the half fading out, the sides looked certain to go in level but the game sprung into life with a bang. A forward ball from Nicky Hunt found Armand Gnanduillet with his back to goal, the French striker wriggled free and turned to face goal and let fly with a stunning left foot volley which found the top corner. The only real piece of quality lit up the game and sent Orient into half time ahead.
It was clear that Mark Yates would have to get his side to come at Orient in the second half The pace and tempo of the game increased early in the second half with home keeper Alex Ciask forced to palm away at Roarie Deacon effort from distance. Despite Orient dominance in the game it never feels safe with just a one goal lead and Nolan really should have doubled his sides lead. After missing a guilt edge chance at Portsmouth a couple of games ago, Nolan was at it again after putting over a Gnanduillet cross when it looked easier to score.
The game had certainly opened with Orient having two great chances to put the game to bed. After a flowing move down the center, Nolan found Simpson who ran at goal but his shot was straight at Jones before Gnanduillet was found with a ball over the top but the Frenchman could only volley at Jones.
There was only one team looking to score and Orient grabbed the game clinching second with 19 minutes to go, after Clohessy was found on the right he crossed to Gnanduillet at the back post. Gnanduillet volleyed back across goal for his second of the day and third of his Orient career to make the game certain.
With the game in the bag Ollie Palmer and Callum Jahraldo Martin were introduced for Armand Gnanduillet and Sammy Moore. Jones was forced to tip over a Jahraldo Martin free kick in the last attempt of the day. Orient moved back into the play offs with the win and made it back to back wins with clean sheets.
Another Saturday and another win, but the same remains, just another 3 points. That is the clear message, 3 points is 3 points no matter now it comes. The last two wins have not been vintage in the slightest however at the moment Orient are picking up the results. I mean think back to earlier in the season where we should have won games and we didn’t but Nolan will emphasize that when a performance is needed it needs to come.
There were many positives today in both Armand Gnanduillet and Jerome Binnon Williams who didn’t shine in glory last weekend. Gnanduillet will divide opinion in attack but has done some ground work to built his reputation with the Orient faithful. He linked up well with Simpson at times throughout the game and it is important that while Simpson is not scoring someone else is netting for the O’s.
I was one of the first to state that Binnom Williams was poor at Notts County last weekend however the Palace loanee showed a glint of why Nolan brought him in. He still slightly lacks match fitness but it will come with games and he offered an option going forward for the Orient. More importantly it showed that he can tackle with a couple of brilliant recovery tackles in the second half.
The only downside is Simpson didn’t score. It is quite clear that Simpson wants a goal and needs one to settle him down. At times he was greedy looked to create a chance for himself rather than play to a team mate. At one point in the second half, Ollie Palmer took the ball off Simpson when he had three men around him, Simpson turned his back on play after the ball had gone away from him. People may think I am being negative but the quicker Simpson gets a goal the better.
So the season of Wonder Goals continues, another one to add to the collection which keeps on growing. Another clean sheet but let’s be honest Orient were rarely troubled throughout the match. The concentration levels were still there and something which you feel Nolan prides himself on. Carlisle away next for a tough test, a team that loves to score goals. The outcome will help to see where Orient could potentially finish this season. All I know is where else would you rather be on a Tuesday Night? Brunton Park for a night game, what Tuesday’s are made for….